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NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Fall 2010

Instructor Details

Klein, April


212 - 998 - 0014

Tuesday 11-Noon; Friday Noon-1 PM


Office hours are also by appointment.  Feel free to e-mail me with any questions.


Vitali Bourchtein


Wednesday 3:30-4:30

K-MEC 10-183(a)

K-MEC 10-183 is inside the suite of offices.  Go to the 10th floor of K-MEC, go up the steps and through the double doors. Go past (behind) the reception test.  10-183 is almost immediately to the left.


Course Meetings

MW, 2:00pm to 3:15pm

Tisch T-200

Final Exam:  December 20:  2 PM - 3:50 PM.  It is cumulative, with an emphasis on the material after the 2rd midterm.


Course Description and Learning Goals

This course provides an introduction to the principles of financial accounting.  I assume no prior academic knowledge of accounting.  The course objective is to help you become intelligent readers of the three main financial statements: the balance sheet, the income statement, and the statement of cash flows, as well as the footnotes and other parts of a 10-K filing.  Achievement of this goal requires an understanding of the basic principles that underlie accrual accounting, as well as an appreciation of the amount of judgment required in applying these principles.  The first part of the course deals with the accounting cycle and emphasizes accounting entries and definitions.  The second half of the class deals with topics in accounting reporting and emphasizes reading financial statements.


Course Outline

September 8:  Introduction to Class

Brief  Introduction to what Financial Accounting is.  We also will go over the requirements for the class.

Read:  Chapter 1

Homework Problems:  M1 –4, 9; E1 – 3, 8; S1-1


September 13 & 15 & 20:  What is a Balance Sheet? Introduction and Analyzing Transactions

Read:  Chapter 2

9/13:  Preparation Problem:  M2 - 4

Homework Problems: M2 – 8; E2 – 2; S2 - 1


9/15:  Preparation Problems:  M2 – 3, 6, 9-13, 19

Homework Problems: E2 – 5, 7; PB2 – 1, 2


9/20: Preparation Problems: E2 – 14; Calculate the current ratio for Target for the last two years.  Why did it go up or down?

Homework Problem

Pick a publicly-traded U.S. company and calculate its market-to-book ratio as of today (use its latest quarterly [10-Q] shareholders’ equity).  Be prepared to report them out in rapid fire.


September 22 & 27 & 29:  What is an Income Statement?  Introduction and Analyzing Transactions

Read:  Chapter 3

9/22:  Preparation Problems:  M3 – 1-3

Homework Problems: E3 – 1, 2, 4; S3 - 1


9/27:  Preparation Problems:  M3 – 4, 5

Homework Problems:  E3 – 7, 8, 11, 12


9/29:  Preparation Problem: Read handouts on Krispy Kreme and Corinthian College (not a hand-in)


October 4: Problem Session

Review Chapters 2 & 3

In class:  We will go over PA3-3

Homework:  PB3 - 2, 3


October 4 & October 6:  Adjusting Entries (Note that we may begin adjusting entries on October 4)

Read:  Chapter 4

10/4:  Preparation Problem:  M4-3

Homework Problems:  M4- 5-8; E4 – 3, 11; S4 - 1


10/6:  Homework:  CP4-5 (This is a great review problem and will complement the Abercrombie and Fitch case very well)


October 13:  Review for Midterm 1

Queen McPea Case Due Today (on blackboard under course documents)

We will review this case in class.  Bring in two copies: one to be handed in at the beginning of class (I will not accept hand-ins once class begins) and one for your reference as we go over the problem


October 18:  MIDTERM 1


October 20 & 25 & 27:  Statement of Cash Flows

Read:  Chapter 12 (skip pp. 571-576 – the direct cash flows from operations sections and Supplement 12A)

           Supplement 12B: We will be using this method to derive the statement of cash flows

10/20:  Preparation Problems:  E12-1, M12-2

Using Target’s cash flow statement, answer the following questions:

  1. Do they pay a dividend?
  2. Do they use an indirect or direct method for cash flows from operations?
  3. Did they buy any long-term assets?


10/25:  Homework:  M12- 4, 5, 6, 7, E12-2, CP12-1; S12-1


10/27:  Homework:  E12-6, 8, 12, CP12-3


November 1:  US GAAP vs. IFRS

Read:  Slides on balance sheet


November 1 & 3:  Inventories

11/1: Read: Chapter 7 to page 325, Supplement 7B (pp. 328-329) 

Preparation Problems: M7- 3, 6, 9

Homework:  M7- 4, 5, 7, E7- 2, 5, 6, 10; S7-1


11/3:  Read Chapter 6 pp. 274-276

Preparation Problems: M7- 15, 19; M6-18

Homework:  PA7 -1, 4; E6-19


November 8 & 10:  Net Sales, Receivables, and Non-Payment of Receivables

Read:  Chapter 8 (skip the section on notes receivables, pp. 368-371)

11/8:  Preparation Problems: M8- 5, 6

Look at Target’s balance sheet.

  1. Why do they have credit card receivables on their balance sheet?
  2. What are the NET credit card receivables?
  3. What are the GROSS credit card receivables?

Homework:  E8-14; CP8 -2; PB8-2


11/10:  Preparation Problem:  M8-7, 8; E8-15

Homework:  E8- 1, 2, 4, 5; CP8-5; S8-1


November 15 & 17:  Long-lived Tangible and Intangible Assets

Read: Chapter 9; Supplement 9B

11/15:  Preparation Problems:  M9- 4-6

Look at Target’s balance sheet as well as footnotes 13 and 14.

  1. Which long-lived assets are tangible and which ones are intangible?
  2. What depreciation method(s) does Target use? Where did you look?
  3. Do the useful lives seem reasonable?
  4. Why does Target use one method of depreciation for book but another for its tax books? (see footnote 13)

Homework:  M9-3; E9- 4, 5, 6, 9, 11; CP9-2


11/17:  Preparation Problems: E9-8, 12, 14

Homework: PB9-3, 4; CP9-1 (this is a good problem to prepare for the midterm exam); S9-1


November 22: Review for Midterm 2 – we will go over problems S12-2, S7-2, S8-2, S9-2


November 24:  MIDTERM 2  (Chapters 7-9 and 12 only)


November 29:  Current Liabilities, Contingencies, and Noncurrent Liabilities

Read:  Chapter 10 (pp. 450-461; 467 - contingent liabilities; 468-469 – quick ratio)

11/29  Preparation Problems:  M10-1, 3, 5

Look at Target’s Balance Sheet and Footnotes 17 and 23

  1. What type of current liabilities does Target have?
  2. What is the gift card liability?
  3. What type of noncurrent liabilities does Target have?
  4. Look at footnote 23 – when are the pension and postretirement health care benefits to be paid?

Homework:  CP10-1, 3; S10-1 (part 1 only)


December 1 & 6:  Present Value and Bonds

Read:  Appendix C (in the back of the book)  If you haven’t seen present value before, this might be difficult, so just skim and try to get the essence of what we will be talking about in class; Chapter 10 (pp. 460-467); Supplements 10B and 10C

12/1: Preparation Problems: From Appendix C:  MC-1, 2, 3 (on p. c.19)

Homework:  EC-5; PAC-1


12/6:  Preparation Problems:  M10- 9, 10, 13

Homework:  CP10- 4; PA10-8, PA10-9; S10-1 (for both PA10-8 and PA10-9, derive the proceeds)


December 8 & 13:  Shareholders’ Equity

Read:  Chapter 11

12/8:  Preparation Problems:  E11- 1, 2

 Homework:  E11- 3, 7, 9, 11


12/13:  Homework:  E11-14; PA11-3; E11-20


December 15:  Wrap-up and Overview of Final Exam


Final Exam  (Date and Time to be Announced)

                                 (2 PM-3:50 PM for the 2 PM class)


Required Course Materials

The textbook is Phillips, Libby and Libby, Fundamentals of Financial Accounting, 3rd edition (2010, Mc-Graw Hill). 

I view the textbook as an important tool, but also as background reading.  We will be covering many things in class that are not in the book.

We will be using the 2009 Target 10-K Filing as well.  It is on Blackboard under 10-K filings. Please bring it to class beginning the second class (September 13).

I will be using Blackboard to post notes, the solutions manual, the syllabus, and to communicate with you throughout the term. 



Assessment Components

Final Grades will be determined as follows:


Midterm 1:  20%

Midterm 2:  20%

Final Exam:  40%

Preparation Hand-Ins (see syllabus):  10%

Queen McPea Case: 10%


All exams are open book/open note.  There are no make-ups for the two midterm exams.  If you miss one of the midterms, your final exam grade will be used in its place.  Make-ups for the final exam will be allowed only if you have a University-approved excuse (e.g., illness or family emergency).



Basically, I stack up everyone’s weighted average from top to bottom and use the official “Undergraduate Grading Guideline for Core Courses: to allocate the grades.  I do, however, take some intangibles into account, particularly if you are on the cusp of two grades (e.g., A- and B+).  These intangibles include but are not limited to class participation, class preparation, class attendance, and trends in your exams. 


This is the official "Undergraduate Grading Guideline for Courses"

  • 25-35% of students can expect to receive A’s for excellent work
  • 50-70% of students can expect to receive B’s for good or very good work
  • 5-15% of students can expect to receive C’s or less for adequate or below work


All exams are open book/open note.  There are no make-ups for the two midterm exams.  If you miss one of the midterms, your final exam grade will be used in its place.  Make-ups for the final exam will be allowed only if you have a University-approved excuse (e.g., illness or family emergency).  If you would like any exam question regraded, I require a written request clearly stating your reasoning within one week of receiving the graded exam.  No crossed out answers or erased answers will be considered for regrading.  So, be careful when putting your answers on the exam sheets.




The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you would like any exam question regraded, I require a written request clearly stating your reasoning within one week of receiving the graded exam.  No crossed out answers or erased answers will be considered for regrading.  So, be careful when putting your answers on the exam sheets.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course


  • Class attendance is essential to your success in this course.  I do not take attendance.  However, under the guidelines of the Stern School, class attendance is part of a student’s grade.  If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to make it up.



In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:

  • Providing strong evidence of having thought through the material.
  • Advancing the discussion by contributing insightful comments and questions.
  • Listening attentively in class.
  • Demonstrating interest in your peers' comments, questions, and presentations.
  • Giving constructive feedback to your peers when appropriate.



  • Late assignments will NOT be accepted or will incur a grade penalty unless due to documented serious illness or family emergency. Exceptions to this policy for reasons of religious observance or civic obligation will only be made available when the assignment cannot reasonably be completed prior to the due date and you make arrangements for late submission in advance.
  • I will NOT accept assignments via e-mail or in my mailbox unless we explicitly agree to it beforehand. 
  • There are NO exceptions to these rules.


Classroom Norms

  • I would appreciate it if you could arrive in class on time.  If you are late, please enter the class w/o disrupting the other students.  Similarly, if you need to leave class early, please do it as quietly and inconspicuously as possible.
  • If you come in late, please do NOT come to the front of the class to drop off or pick up your homework.  Please wait until the end of the class to do so.
  • Sorry, I do not allow students to use computers in class.  Turn off all electronic devices prior to the start of class. Laptops, cell phones and other electronic devices are a distraction to everyone.   Please put all of these items away.  And, please, please, please, no texting in class.
  • I will be using a seating chart to get to know your names.  I will bring the chart to class on September 15, so please select your seat on that date.  You must remain in that seat for the entire class – unless you expressedly ask me for a changed seat.


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

  • Exercise integrity in all aspects of one's academic work including, but not limited to, the preparation and completion of exams, papers and all other course requirements by not engaging in any method or means that provides an unfair advantage.
  • Clearly acknowledge the work and efforts of others when submitting written work as one’s own. Ideas, data, direct quotations (which should be designated with quotation marks), paraphrasing, creative expression, or any other incorporation of the work of others should be fully referenced. 
  • Refrain from behaving in ways that knowingly support, assist, or in any way attempt to enable another person to engage in any violation of the Code of Conduct. Our support also includes reporting any observed violations of this Code of Conduct or other School and University policies that are deemed to adversely affect the NYU Stern community.

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


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